City of Jerusalem by Conder

Tomb West of Calvary outside JerusalemThe following public domain book is now available for free download in PDF:

C.R. Conder [1848-1910], The City of Jerusalem. London: John Murray, 1909. Hbk. pp.334.

Col. Claude R. Conder, a British Soldier seconded to the Palestine Exploration Fund (1875-78, 1881-82) writes about the history of of Jerusalem calling on his own experiences exploring the city.

The City of Jerusalem

Chapter 1


I first set eyes on Jerusalem one summer morning in 1872. The view – a mile away – of the long grey wall, the cypress trees of the Armenian garden, and the single minaret at the west gate, was not then obstructed by the row of Jewish cottages since built. The population was only about a third of what it now is. The railway station was not thought of, and only a few villas outside the gate existed, while the suburbs to north and south had not grown up, and Olivet was not covered with modern buildings. I passed two winters (1873-5) in the city, the second in a house in the Jews’ quarter, and later on (1881-2) a third winter at the hotel; and during these visits my time was mainly occupied in wandering among the less-known corners of the town. It was a period very favourable for exploration. The survey by Sir Charles Wilson, the researches of de Vogue, and the wonderful excavations of Sir Charles Warren, were then recent. The German Emperor, William I., had just ordered the clearing out of the eastern half of the great square of St. John’s Hospital, having been given by the Sultan the site of Charlemagne’s hospice beside the Church of St Mary Latin. In 1874 Mr. Henry Maudeslay was exploring the ancient scarps at the south-west corner of the Hebrew city; and, by the Sultan’s order, the Dome of the Rock-deconsecrated for a time-was being repaired, while other excavations were in progress outside the city on the north. I was thus able to walk in my socks all over the surface of the sacred Sakhrah “rock,” and to ascend the scaffolding to the dome above, in order to examine the ancient mosaics of our seventh century, as well as those on the outside, where the old arcaded battlement of the ninth century was just laid bare. I penetrated, by the old rock-cut aqueduct at the north-west corner of the Haram, to the Herodian wall, and discovered the buttresses of the Temple rampart still standing, and just like those at Hebron. In the Jews’ quarter I found the old hospice of the Teutonic Order, and the chapel of the Holy Ghost….

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Newly Discovered Version of the Story of the Flood (1911)

Allessandro Masnago - Cameo with Noah's Ark before the Flood
Allessandro Masnago – Cameo with Noah’s Ark [Public Domain; source: Wikipedia]
The following article is now available on-line in PDF:

Theophilus G. Pinches [1856-1934], “The Newly Discovered Version of the Story of the Flood,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute 43 (1911): 135-159.

The Newly Discovered Version of the Story of the Flood

In all probability there is no phenomenon of nature described in the Old Testament which has attracted so much attention as the account of the Deluge, though many may say, that the sun standing still at the command of Joshua would be found to enter into competition with the great cataclysm of earlier date. Since the reading of the first Babylonian version of the Flood – story by the late George Smith about thirty-six years ago, however, interest has centered rather in that wide-spread catastrophe than in the cause of the great Israelitish leader’s victory; and this interest in the account of the Flood has rather increased of late years in consequence of the discovery of other versions – a second one by George Smith when engaged on the Daily Telegraph Expedition; another still, to all appearance, by Father V. Scheil, a few years ago, and still a fourth, by Professor H. V. Hilprecht last year.

The most complete version of the Babylonian account of the Flood is the first one here referred to. This document forms the eleventh tablet of the Gilgames series, and, as fate (or Providence, if you will) would have it, this portion of the legend is more perfect than any of the remaining tablets – twelve in number – of the series. La yard, Rassam, G. Smith, have all contributed, by the fragments they discovered, to its completion, and the last-named recognised and adjusted, within finite patience, practically the whole of the fragments (one little piece only fell to my share during the time of my employment at the British Museum) of which that eleventh tablet is composed. It is pleasant to think that one of our own countrymen was able to do such a good piece of work, and thus lay the foundation of a really trustworthy text of these important documents, besides attending to numerous fragments of tablets in almost all the other sections of Assyro-Babylonian literature.

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Assur and Nineveh (1910)

A Bronze Lion from Nineveh [Public Domain]
This image is from Illustrerad Verldshistoria by Ernst Wallis et al, published 1875-9.
The following public domain article is now available on-line:

Theophilus G. Pinches, “Assur and Nineveh,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute 42 (1910): 154-176.

Assur and Nineveh


Of all the little explanatory verses on the Old Testament there are probably but few which are of greater interest than that referring to the great cities of Assyria. It is that well-known verse 11 of the 10th chapter of Genesis, which, in the Revised Version, tells us that, “out of that land (Shinar or Babylonia) he (Nimrod, who is best identified with the Babylonian god Merodach) went forth into Assyria, and builded Nineveh, and Rehoboth-Ir, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (the same is the great city).” Whether it was Asshur or Nimrod who went forth from Babylonia or not is a matter of but minor importance, as it is the cities which were founded, and not the person who founded them, with which we have to deal.

A very important testimony to the great size of Nineveh is given in the Book of Jonah, where it is spoken of, in verse 2 of the third chapter, as ”that great city,” and further, in the third verse of the same chapter, as “an exceeding great city of three days’ journey,” the distance referred to being commonly regarded as indicating its extent. Naturally, there is some difficulty in estimating this from such a vague statement, for, admitting that the words are correctly applied, the distance traversed must necessarily depend on the speed of the traveller. Perhaps a preaching – journey, such as that upon which the prophet Jonah was engaged, was slower than an ordinary one, but taking as a rough estimate 10 miles a day, this would make about 30 miles as its greatest extent. Between Nineveh and Calah, However, there is nothing like this distance, so that another explanation will have to be found.

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Discoveries in Babylonia (1909)

Babylonia at the Time of Hammurabi
Babylonia at the Time of Hammurabi [Source: Wikipedia Commons]
The following Public Domain article is now available on-line in PDF.

Theophilus G. Pinches [1856-1934], “Discoveries in Babylonia and the Neighbouring Lands,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute 41 (1909): 99-122.

Discoveries in Babylonia and the Neighbouring Lands

Gradually, but surely and ever more speedily, Assyriology is becoming the most important study in the domain of Oriental archaeology. The language of the Babylonians and Assyrians proves to be a tongue of the most engrossing importance, whilst that of the seemingly earlier race-the Sumerians-with which it was brought into contact, is regarded by some as the coming study for those who wish to acquire renown as true archaeological linguists. But besides the languages, with their dialects, a very specially interesting and important field of study is their archaeology in general, their beliefs, their manners and customs, their arts and sciences, and the geography of the land. Whether we shall ever obtain information as to their original home, we do not know, but we may, by chance, acquire, ultimately, the information needed to find out where that place may have been; and in any case, we shall know all the better what influence those nations may have had in the world, to say nothing of the bearing of their records on the all-important subject of Bible hi13tory, thought, and beliefs. A number of closely-connected nations whose influence extended from Elam on the to the Mediterranean and Egypt on the west, and from the Caspian Sea on the north to Arabia on the south, cannot fail to have exercised considerable influence beyond those borders and boundaries – an influence of which we shall not obtain a full idea for many years to come.

Now that we have learned so much about these ancient nations, and their peculiar wedge-formed characters, we know also something of their power and the wide influence of their writing. It is now known that the so-called Phoenician goes back to 1,500 or 2,000 years before Christ, but there was a time when the cuneiform script, in one form or other, was used all over Western Asia within the limits I have indicated. In addition, therefore, to Semitic Babylonian, the cuneiform script, derived from that of Babylonia, was used by the Assyrians, who spoke the same language; the Elamites, who spoke Babylonian and ancient Elamite; the Armenians, who seem to have obtained the syllabary they used from Assyria; the Palestinian states, who got their script from Babylonia; the Mitannians, who also employed the Babylonian style; the Cappadocians, who at first used ancient Babylonian, though they seem to have been an Assyrian colony; and the Hittites, who also used the Babylonian style. These are the nationalities who are known to have used some form of the Babylonian wedge-writing, and the list omits ancient Persian on account of the impossibility of tracing any sure connection between their cuneiform alphabet{for that is, perhaps, the best word to use) and the complicated characters of the Babylonians and Assyrians….

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Stephen H. Langdon on Babylonian Menologies and the Semitic Calendars now on-line

Ishtar Gate [Public Domain via Wikipedia]
Ishtar Gate [Public Domain via Wikipedia]
The following Schweich Lecture on Biblical Archaeology is now available on-line in PDF: Stephen H. Langdon [1876-1937], Babylonian Menologies and the Semitic Calendars. The Schweich Lectures of the British Academy 1933. London: Oxford University Press, 1935. Hbk. pp.169. Click here to read. Currently there are currently 22 of these lectures in the Public Domain. See here for the full list.

Robert H. Kennett on Ancient Hebrew Social Life and Custom

The following public domain Schweich lectures are now available on-line in PDF:

Robert H. Kennett [1864-1932], Ancient Hebrew Social Life and Custom as Indicated in Law, Narrative and Metaphor. The Schweich Lectures of the British Academy 1931. London: Oxford University Press, 1933. Hbk. pp.114.

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You can see the full list of the Schweich lectures here.

T. Eric Peet’s Comparative Study of the Literatures of Egypt, Palestine, and Mesopotamia

Papyrus Ani curs hiero  [Public Domain image - source Wikipedia]
Papyrus Ani curs hiero
[Public Domain image – source Wikipedia]
The following Schwiech Lectures are now available on-line in PDF:

T. Eric Peet [1882-1934], A Comparative Study of the Literatures of Egypt, Palestine, and Mesopotamia: Egypt’s Contribution to the Literature of the Ancient World. The Schweich Lectures 1929. London: Oxford University Press, 1931. Hbk. 136.

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D.S. Margoliouth on the Relations between Arabs and Israelites prior to the Rise of Islam

The following public domain title from the Schweich Lectures series is now available on-line in PDF:

D.S. Margoliouth [1858-1940], The Relations between Arabs and Israelites prior to the Rise of Islam. The Schweich Lectures 1921. London: Oxford University Press, 1924. Hbk. pp.87.

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More Schweich Lectures can be found HERE.

Israel Abrahams on the Campaigns in Palestine from Alexander the Great

The following Schweich Lectures is now available on-line in PDF:

Israel Abrahams [1858-1925], Campaigns in Palestine from Alexander the Great. Schweich Lectures 1922. London: Oxford University Press, 1927. Hbk. pp.55.

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The book has a couple of useful illustrations which I have uploaded in various resolutions so that they can be re-used. This material is now Public Domain.